Keep Calm: Youth Navigating Adult Authority across Networked Publics

Journal article

Ana L. Campos-Holland, B. Dinsmore, G. Pol, K. Zevallos

Semantic Scholar DOI


Campos-Holland, A. L., Dinsmore, B., Pol, G., & Zevallos, K. (2015). Keep Calm: Youth Navigating Adult Authority across Networked Publics.

Campos-Holland, Ana L., B. Dinsmore, G. Pol, and K. Zevallos. “Keep Calm: Youth Navigating Adult Authority across Networked Publics” (2015).

Campos-Holland, Ana L., et al. Keep Calm: Youth Navigating Adult Authority across Networked Publics. 2015.


Abstract Purpose Rooted in adult fear, adult authority aims to protect and control youth (Gannon, 2008; Valentine, 1997). Continuously negotiating for freedom, youth search for adult-free public spaces and are therefore extremely attracted to social networking sites (boyd, 2007, 2014). However, a significant portion of youth now includes adult authorities within their Facebook networks (Madden et al., 2013). Thus, this study explores how youth navigate familial- and educational-adult authorities across social networking sites in relation to their local peer culture.

Methodology/approach Through semi-structured interviews, including youth-centered and participant-driven social media tours, 82 youth from the Northeast region of the United States of America (9–17 years of age; 43 females and 39 males) shared their lived experiences and perspectives about social media during the summer of 2013.

Findings In their everyday lives, youth are subjected to the normative expectations emerging from peer culture, school, and family life. Within these different and at times conflicting normative schemas, youth’s social media use is subject to adult authority. In response, youth develop intricate ways to navigate adult authority across social networking sites.

Originality/value Adult fear is powerful, but fragile to youth’s interpretation; networked publics are now regulated and youth’s ability to navigate then is based on their social location; and youth’s social media use must be contextualized to be holistically understood.